Programme 9: 23rd December 2007

Adam Walton examines the science behind the headlines and reveals the latest scientific research in Wales.

Sunday 23rd December at 5.03pm

(Repeated Wednesday 26th December at 9.30pm)

Review of the Year

Dr. Roger Highfield, Science Editor of the Daily Telegraph joins Adam at the Science Cafe this week to review the major scientific achievements of 2007. They include breakthroughs which add to our understanding of the human genome and human genetic variation; a development in artificial intelligence by Canadian scientists who've created a program which can win or draw at draughts against any opponent; and research which suggests that cosmic rays may be coming from belching black holes!

Silly Science

Adam also considers the more bizarre areas of scientific research in 2007 with Andrew Impey and Mark Steer from Null Hypothesis, a website which describes itself as 'The Journal of Unlikely Science'. Their favourite stories include the rubber ducks which are giving us new insights into ocean currents and the discovery that the appendix isn't as useless as we thought. And at Null Hypothesis they admit that they're not averse to making stories up from time to time: take a deep breath and discover how they've solved the problem of climate change.

A Good Read

If you're looking for a good read over Christmas, The Science Cafe is here to help. Mark Brake, Professor of Science Communication at the University of Glamorgan has been browsing the bookshelves to select his favourite popular science and science fiction books. Here are his recommendations:

'Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the Last 13000 Years'
by Jared M. Diamond (Vintage Books);

'The Blood of the Isles' by Bryan Sykes (Corgi Books);

'Quicksilver: The Baroque Cycle' by Neal Stephenson (Arrow Books);

'A Science Fiction Omnibus' Edited by Brian Aldiss (Penguin Classics)

Espresso Science

This week's experiment shows how it's possible for jolly old Santa to get down a narrow chimney. Dr. Diane Gray of the Techniquest @ NEWI Science Discovery Centre in Wrexham proves it with a boiled egg and a milk bottle. However, the experiment doesn't go entirely as planned...

Listen onlineListen to Espresso Science - 8


Daily Telegraph Science

Null Hypothesis


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

New website

iPlayer Radio logo

Listen online

A new look for BBC Radio online: listen live on your computer - and now on your smartphone.

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.